A control panel is provided by a web host. As suggested by the name, it is the controlling mechanism for the website and helps in managing the website. Control panel is the one place from where a user can do everything that is needed to be done, while hosting a website, this includes tracking statistical information like traffic information, creating FTP accounts, setting up email accounts, adding sub-domains, databases, managing files, among many other things.
There are a number of different control panels available in the market. These include Cpanel which is among the most popular, Hostopia, Sphera, Ensim, VDeck, NextGenCP etc. They all differ in their look and feel as well as functions. Web hosts usually have their own control panel preferences, which depend upon the platforms they use. The control panels are selected according to their features and ability to perform on a particular platform.
Basic features that you can expect to find in a control panel are as follows:
PostgreSQL Database Manager
MySQL Database Manager
Raw Access Logs
Raw Log Manager
MS SQL Manager(Windows only)
Hot Link Protection
Hot Link Protection
IP Deny manager
Among the differences that ditinguish various control panels, is the ease of use. Some control panels like Plesk are relatively more user friendly. While others like cPanel, are well regarded for their functionality. Before you can appreciate which is the best control panel that can serve your needs satisfactorily, you will need to have an idea of what is on offer in the market. Towards that end, an overview of various control panels follows:
Linux based systems is where cPanel is mainly found. It can offer assistance for over 10 types of Linux the and at the moment does not cater to Windows or OSX. cPanel is helpful in controlling everything your site needs including MySQL database to email issues and much more beside.
cPanel has a whole range of functions and provides much more than the majority of control panels. The amount of functions offered is a key reason why it is so popular, that and it is cheap.
Plex is available for Linux and Windows web hosting servers where cPanel is not. Many users find it helpful that Plex has an interface similar to Windows XP. The control panel looks good and offers many features available in cPanel. It can enable any user to build their own site with easy to sue tool. It offers many features but it may be viewed as more expensive than other products, especially cPanel.
H-Sphere is also a popular control panel used by web hosts. Just like Plesk, it is also available for Windows, as well as Linux based web hosting servers. It offers a good range of features ranging from complete automation to key functionalities. However when compared with cPanel and Plesk it has less features.
If you want options that many control panels do not offer then DirectAdmin is for you. It has a wider range but it lacks some features that make Plesk or cPanel so popular. It is also purely for a small number of Linux varieties but it is considerably cheaper than cPanel.
Available for Windows and Linux, Ensim doesn’t have a lot of features but it has an interface that is adequate.
Interworx is purely for Linux web hosts but it has a simple interface and features like usage snapshot which are impressive.
Hosting accelerator supports only Windows Web hosting servers. Its interface is not well organized and appears crowded with options which may overwhelm inexperienced users.
This is another Windows only web host server and this offers the ability to view billing details from within the control panel.
The CWIPanel aims for Windows server management. It is an average product.
Again, InsPanel is Windwos based and has little to stand itself out from the crowd.
Among the above mentioned control panels, cPanel usually ends up as the favored choice due to its range of features, ease of and affordability.
There have been recent developments in control panels and Pandela.com have developed the NextGenCP control panel. It has been a few years in the making but it looks very good.
You can tell that modern internet technology has shaped this product. It is simple to use and has been created specifically for web hosting clients. It has such a great ease of use that even novices can pick it up in next to no time. It is said it takes no more than mouse clicks to perform any function. It may seem simple but there is a lot going on and all of the functions aid web site management. The makers of the service have also issued all users with a challenge and if they can think of something they would like in the next version of the product, they will incorporate it.
An overview of the features of NextGenCP:
All users have full control of any domain and sub-domain and the registration process is very simple. Users have full control over their domain as well as sub-domain. They can also register and host their own domain names easily and quickly.
Managing a Database:
This product makes it extremely simple to create and manage your very own database with just a few clicks of the mouse. phpMyAdmin provides the database management and the data is secured by Database Backup Manager.
Take control of the mail accounts:
It is very simple to add and control email accounts using this system. Pandela.com have provided many SPAM filters which should vastly reduce the amount of junk a user receives. There are also features to organize mail accounts, and look through and filter mail that is not desired.
Use tools to improve your site:
NextGenCP has plenty of tools, which make managing a web site very easy. Some of these tools are Script Installer, Hotlink Protection and IP Access Manager.
Find the statistics behind your site:
Site statistics options in NextGenCP, provides complete information about the visitors, and the amount of bandwidth/traffic consumed by the site and mail accounts on a daily basis.
Feel the benefit of the support system:
Having full access to a support system is a great feature offered by NextGenCP. Anytime a user notices a problem, they have to submit a ticket and they will be offered assistance from a member of staff as quickly as possible. It usually takes no more than fifteen minutes to be responded to.
There is no doubt that these functions are marking NextGenCP as one of the best control panels available in the current climate. Competitors should take note that Pandela.com is not stopping here and they intend to improve the service offered by its already impressive product.